was the name of my first piano book when I emerged triumphant from John Thompson Book 1...No more pictures of cute gnomes and instead pieces by "real" composers. Oh, I was so excited!
I guess there might be a similiar feel when I actually land that "first responsibility post" , towards which so much of my energies are currently geared. At the moment, though, I'm very grateful for any kindly helpers who cross my path (none of whom, oddly enough, have looked even remotely like gnomes).
On Tuesday, therefore, I was up at dawn for the drive to Guildford for training from Claire Pedrick of 3D Coaching on the gentle art of moving on. To my relief, the group was not just a collection of anxious curates (who could see their successors removal vans approaching the door) but clergy at all stages of ministry, who were trying to discern if now is the time for a change. The day was completely excellent - I'm delighted to have done it, though I wish even more that I'd been able to do it a year ago. Right now, the view from here is rather like this (actually part of the cloistered area outside Guildford Cathedral) - with lots of shadowy openings and
vague possibilities and one or two that look as if they might actually be a door-way to something.
Part of Tuesday's task was to begin to recognise our own gifts so that we have more hope of communicating them to interview panels...We were invited to mind-map our whole life's experience, drawing out the key skills that each chapter represented. I'd never, for example, recognised that opting to run a B&B when the last recession left us in a large Cotswold farmhouse with no money could be seen as adaptability as much as deperation! But actually, it can....and right the way down the line for everyone there are unrecognised talents to be spotted and drawn out.
From this, the next step was to "boil ourselves down" to the essence of ourselves in ministry...a process that was both hard-work and thoroughly rewarding (I'll tell more later) before we considered what might be the absolute essentials (and desirables) for a job to "fit". We were invited to consider those things that made us smile or cringe in any parish profile, and reflect on what that might say about the place and the people. One golden nugget that I'll have to keep at the forefront of my mind was Claire's reminder
"Those of you who are looking for your first parish need to be aware that you'll be so pathetically grateful if offered a job that you're likely to jump at anything. Just don't..."
I came home energised and keen to explore what it is that really makes me sing in my current ministry...and what that might say as I try to make clear how the way ahead might look for me.